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Alright, my second mobile phone!
I've got an Atrix, so this phone will be retired. It still works fairly well and I'm not sure what to do with it.
- Quad-band GSM, dual-band UMTS (2100/900)
- Big screen â 3.7 inch, 480Ã854, capacitive touch
- Wifi b/g, GPS, Bluetooth
- Slide-out keyboard
- 5MP camera with autofocus
- Runs Android!
- Mains power supply with two pin Australian plug, 5Â V 850Â mA into a USB-A socket
- USB-A to Micro-B cable
- Car dock with suction cup for attaching to window or windscreen
- Car power supply, 5Â V 950Â mA with a coiled lead ending in a Micro-B plug
- Multimedia Station dock
- Screen protectors from DCMUGEN
- Cover or case?
- Bigger battery?
- 16 or 32Â GiB MicroSDHC card
There are a number of âextensionâ batteries that are much larger than the 1390Â mAh OEM battery from Motorola. And by âlargerâ, I mean physically as well; they project well beyond the back of the phone and require the use of a special-purpose battery cover (usually included with the battery). The two main manufacturers of these large batteries appear to be Mugen and Seidio. Mugen makes one of the largest â a 3300Â mAh monster. Another manufacturer makes a battery they claim has 3500Â mAh, but at half the price I'm left wondering about the accuracy of that claimed capacity.
Because the battery covers change the shape of the phone body, it creates all sorts of compatibility problems with things like cases, car holders, and docks.
Now, Mugen seems to concentrate on batteries, but Seidio also makes a bunch of other accessories. They make clip-on covers, including one intended to work with their 2800Â mAh extended battery (even bundled together). And they make a dock that can accept the phone with the case on, and even the extended battery protruding out the back. So that's one option...
A less ambitious option is to get a 1500Â mAh âslimâ extended battery that doesn't require a new battery cover. Not as much of a battery capacity increase, but also none of the physical compatibility problems. Mugen also makes a 1700Â mAh âslimâ battery, which one eBay seller claims will fit in a Droid (the U.S. version of my phone), even though none of the Mugen reseller websites say this.
And an alternative to getting a case is an "invisible shield", which from a little investigation of clues in eBay auctions, is made using thermoplastic polyurethane (likely the polyester variant). Judging from the videos posted by several eBay sellers, this stuff is very scratch resistant. So it would be great for protecting against normal wear and tear. But my phone is second hand and already has quite a bit of wear and tear. And it won't protect against a fall, which my phone has already clearly been through.
I definitely need a new screen protector though. The one that the previous owner put on is covered in scratches.
I bought this phone through an auction on eBay.
My original SIM card appears to be working in this 3G phone alright. From several âinfoâ apps it is using UMTS and I have seen the âHâ icon show up a few times, indicating an HSPA data connection. Iâve been avoiding that as much as possible though because of the cost of data on my pre-paid plan ($2/MB!) and the amount of data that a device like this could easily pull down. It appears my guess of Vodafone handing out UICCâs to everybody for a while was correct.
Iâve installed lots of apps, and uninstalled lots too. Thereâs so many available!
Just hours after receiving the phone I rooted it and installed a custom âROMâ to get something newer than Android 2.1. I originally put on Cronos Froyo, then Cronos Ginger, but later switched to CyanogenMod 7 because the Cronos developer wasn't updating the Gingerbread-based ROM. Cronos is based off of CM7 anyway, so there wasn't much of a change anyway.
I tried FroyoMod for a little while and was impressed with how similar it was to CM7 and other Gingerbread-based ROMs in many ways. By comparison, CM6 (and Cronos Froyo) are primitive and abandoned.
Besides the extra goodies provided by the custom ROMs, there are some extra things I setup on my phone.
I use a custom /etc/init.d/10overclock file, based on one provided by OpenRecovery and also one from Cronos Ginger 1.0.0. I currently use the smartass governor (at bottom) to select between the five speeds of 1Â GHz, 600Â MHz, 350Â MHz, 200Â MHz, and 125Â MHz. This tight, geometric progression allows me to tweak the min/max_cpu_load parameters of the smartass governor up to 40/90 from the default of 20/80. This means the CPU is more likely to switch down to a slower speed when it doesn't need as much speed, and is also less likely to switch up to a faster speed.
I had previously use the four speeds of 1Â GHz, 500Â MHz, 250Â MHz, and 125Â MHz before CM7 0.08-11.04.05 RC4 updated the overclock module. I have also at times used a set of speeds that max out at 1.1Â GHz, but it produces more heat for little noticeable improvement in performance.
Beware of overclocking the CPU too much. Higher speeds produce more heat and drain the battery faster. Don't fall into the trap of thinking "oh, it will only use the extra speed in short bursts to get some things done faster". These mobile CPUs are intentionally underpowered to save battery power; they will take every bit of extra speed you give them and want more!
Iâm finding that the 256Â MB of RAM is perhaps limiting the number of widgets I can have on my homescreen(s) or apps running in the background. But donât try to solve this problem with more apps! Steer clear of apps like âAdvanced Task Killerâ and âStartup Cleanerâ. These are imprecise work-arounds that use up more memory since they also stay around in the background!
The better solution is to tune the memory management parameters of the kernel. A user on XDA forums, zeppelinrox, explains how to SuperCharge & Bulletproof Your Milestone & Droid ! Tips, Tricks & Tweaks. He has worked hard on a number of shell scripts which change system settings to make it better at making memory available to running apps, and to keeping the launcher in memory. He is currently at version 6, a large combined script with a bunch of options available. I thoroughly recommend the use of this script for any Gingerbread users on Milestone phones (and possibly other phones with only 256Â MiB of RAM).
As recommended by zeppelinrox, I also increase the heap size to 48Â MiB with the following command since this amount is not a listed option in CM extras:
echoÂ -nÂ 48mÂ >Â /data/property/persist.sys.vm.heapsize
Make sure that file has no newline or the phone won't boot!
Removing unnecessary apps
Even these community ROMs (or more precisely, their Gapps bundles) come with some things that I don't need, or provides a service that is better served by another app. The first version of Cronos I tried (Froyo, based on CM6) included Google's Facebook and Twitter apps. Thankfully that sort of junk is no longer installed, but there's other apps I still remove.
- Use ES File Explorer instead.
- Impressive but buggy, often caused lock-ups and reboots. Use QuickPic for local photos, JustPictures! for several online albums, or FlickrFree for just Flickr photos.
- Some ânews and weatherâ widget. Don't use it.
- The annoying âtipsâ widget that's unnecessary once you've used Android for more than five minutes.
See the CyanogenMod wiki âbarebonesâ page about what apps can be removed, and how to do it.
Nokia backups are just PkZip files with an '.NBF' filename extension. Finding the vCard files (.vcf) files and concatenating them together into one file is easy enough. Iâve transferred this file to the Android emulator and it imports everything just fine! So thatâs easy enough.
As for SMS messages, I found a blog post â Transferring Text Messages (SMS) from Nokia to Android. It describes using gammu to download the messages, a Perl script to convert the format, and SMS Backup & Restore to get the messages onto the phone.
As to calendar entries, call log, etc I'm not sure.
GPS and satnav
Two apps for using my Bluetooth GPS receiver (not perfect):
When I first tried out these apps I found them exiting when I fired up OSMand. I thought that perhaps OSMand was killing them or something. But when I tried them out before the drive to the Central Coast for Mothers Day lunch with grandma, they both worked. Perhaps it was just a problem with memory before and zeppelinrox's tweaks have helped (I am using the âmultitaskingâ settings).
And an app for doing the opposite:
- A SIP client that supports G.729 (not likely to be free)
Email and news
- The build-in email client already supports IMAP
- K9 Mail
- Feed Me
- Birthday Info widget
- Smooth Calendar - much nicer than the built-in calendar widget
- Weather forecast widget
- Aussie Weather Radar - brings up the BOM's weather radar animations
- Moon 3D
- Sync to a CalDAV server?
I have replaced this phone with a Motorola Atrix. What will I do then with my Milestone? It's still functioning and usable.
It functions fine without a SIM card. It displays a SIM card icon with an exclamation point on the notification bar. And it always says âemergency calls onlyâ on the lock screen or in place of the carrier name. So that's a little annoying. But otherwise it's okay.
It could be a simple network terminal, but the keyboard isn't that great. I wonder if my niece and nephew could use it. It's not great for playing games and they might break it fairly quickly. Or maybe I should give it to Glenn and Tania.